Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Vaughn vs. Portis, Episode I

John Hammond is the Bucks' GM.

Jason Kidd is just the Bucks' head coach.

And if you believe that bullshit, then... you probably spend a lot of time on NBA blogs and Twitter.

This is no complaint.  I think Kidd is a great coach, and if getting him to Milwaukee took de-facto GM powers and the neutering of Hammond (along with a longtime friendship with gambling buddy Marc Lasry), then I say "awesome".

I only bring it up now because last night was the first Bucks vs. Bulls matchup of the season, and thus, the first opportunity to see Bucks first round pick Rashad Vaughn go head-to-head with woulda-been Bucks first round pick Bobby Portis.

For those who are less entranced by NBA gossip than I, the story broke over the summer that Jason Kidd overruled John Hammond's (and, likely, the Bucks' superlative Director of College Scouting Billy McKinney, who is a long time Hammond ally) decision to select Bobby Portis because Kidd was worried that Portis would hamper Jabari Parker's development.   (Bucks Wunderkind-without-the-wunder/Vice President of Strategy and Operations/Owner's Son Alex Lasry immediately refuted the story, which was effectively confirmation for those of us who are fluent in bullshit-to-English translations.)

As expected, McKinney, the man who was responsible for drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo with the FIFTEENTH selection in a garbage draft, appears to be spot on.  Portis hauled in fourteen rebounds against the interiorly-challenged Bucks, and was exactly the type of active presence in the paint that many basketball people think he could be.  (In fairness, Portis also had trouble putting the ball in the hoop.  You don't get drafted at number nineteen without at least one question mark.)

Kidd, as usual, looks spot on in his assessment.  Portis's activity likely would have endeared him to Bucks fans, and possibly would have led to the people in the seats wanting to see more of the rookie.  In a vacuum that sounds good, but the problem as Kidd sees it is that Jabari plays the same position as Portis.  It's essentially the same situation that the Washington Redskins put themselves in.  The Bucks would've been drafting a possible baller (Kirk Cousins) who plays the same position as their highly-touted young star (Robert Griffin III).  And look how that's worked out!  Imagine how much better off the Skins would be if they'd have put all their chips on RG3 and let him play without Cousins there as a safety net for the franchise.  Err.....

The good news for the Bucks is that Vaughn looks great and he fills one of many a Bucks need.  Once Brandon Knight was traded, the only guy who could get his own shot for the Bucks last season was OJ Mayo.  Mayo is in the last year of his contract, so the Bucks needed someone to both do work when Mayo rests and be the own-shot-getter if Mayo is gone next season.  Boom.  Done.  Vaughn fits perfectly.

I didn't watch the game, but from all Bucks fan/media/Twitter reports, Vaughn looked great.  Coach Kidd started him and gave him big minutes all game long.  Hopefully Vaughn emerges into an All-Rookie contributor.  (I would say, "Rookie of the Year", but honestly at this point if anyone except Stanley Johnson of the Pistons wins it then I'm going to be surprised.)

The Bucks' next exhibition game is on Saturday and I am hoping to be able to watch some of it.  Reports out of last night's game were that my pre-season worries -- rebounding, defensive attentiveness and general offense -- showed up from time to time.  Reports also were that the Greek Freak looked great, Middleton was hitting shots and Jorge Gutierrez might just be the point guard that the Bucks need.  All good things.  Let's hope there's more of that to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment